State's budget deficit picture brightens

Hartford - The budget deficit for fiscal year 2013 is projected to be $50.7 million, $77.3 million less than projected last month, according to an Office of Fiscal Analysis report released Monday.

The reduction is because of spending and revenue changes since February, according to the report.

Benefits to Retired State Employees Health Services are projected to decrease by $21.6 million because of lower than projected spending claims.

Savings from converting the state's Medicare-eligible retirees to the Employer Group Waiver Program for prescription drug expenditures are also higher than anticipated. Savings for fiscal year 2013 are now anticipated to be $56 million as opposed to $30 million, according to the report.

The projection for the Higher Education Alternative Retirement System account is also projected to be $4 million less than originally estimated. State Department of Education spending is projected to be $2.9 million less than expected because of changes made to various accounts.

Spending projected for the Board and Care for Children within the state's Department of Children and Families, is projected to be $1.7 million less because of an anticipated reduction in caseloads.

On the revenue side, OFA estimates that the inheritance and estate tax will be $40 million more than was assumed due to a high collection day in March.

The insurance companies' tax is also projected to bring in $6 million more than was previously projected. OFA projects that the sales of commodities will be $2 million more than anticipated.

Revenues that were projected to decrease included the cigarette tax, the admissions and dues tax and casino slot machine payments.

j.somers@theday.com

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